I am participating in the Arkansas Women Bloggers “Blogtober-Fest” challenge.  Today’s blogging challenge:  Fall Fashion and Decorating.

Disclaimer:  I don’t subscribe to House Beautiful.  I don’t have one episode of ANYTHING from HGTV on my DVR.  My idea of decorating for fall is carving pumpkins, and that is just so we can roast and eat the pumpkin seeds.

Me with my amazing friend Sherilyn

So when we had the long-awaited grand opening of Cuarto Cuarto at Casa Dilday (which means 4th Room – but it is really the deck my husband spent AN ENTIRE SUMMER constructing!) last fall, my good friend Sherilyn stepped in to help.  She asked me how I planned to decorate for the party.  I told her I planned to keep it simple.  I proudly described my creative theme for the evening: I was simply planning to purchase mason jars, fill the bottoms with beans and/or corn, and drop in a tea light.  Voila!  Instant decor. Sherilyn then ever-so-gently asked if she could “help” me decorate.  She told me that she really LOVED to decorate (I already knew this, of course) and that she really wanted to do something for me to celebrate our new deck.  She really twisted my arm.

So on the day of the party, we “shopped” through her house first, then mine, gathering table cloths, woven baskets,  pottery dishes, wine toppers, candle sticks, and decorative items that were rustic or autumn hued.  The only thing I ended up purchasing besides the mason jars, were a couple of large pumpkins and one fall bouquet of flowers.  I even borrowed Sherilyn’s potted mums! We draped the food table with my boring solid gold tablecloth, then bunched Sherilyn’s gorgeous Pier One tablecloth on top.  We added the fresh flowers, a tall candlestick, and a couple of roosters from my kitchen to complete the look.  The brisket came out later on Sherilyn’s Wilton Armetale serving platter (TOP of my wish list! hint hint) and various dips and sides were served in mismatched pottery dishes.

When Mark built our deck he added concrete counter tops around the grill.  They provided much needed additional serving space because we love our food, and lots of it!  We covered it with a multi-colored bamboo table runner, added a fall wreath on a stand, woven baskets draped with napkins which we used to serve chips and sandwich buns, and a trio of mason jars, also on a colorful napkin.

Since our deck is nearly 1,000 square feet, we set up several seating areas and decorated each area with a candle, potted plant, or small bowls of nibbles. We draped napkins and lined up mason jars alongside a ledge of the deck. 

The party was a huge hit. Mark and I were both so proud to share our new “4th room” with our friends and family.

Here are the key decorating tips I learned from Sherilyn:

  • Everything doesn’t have to be “matchy-matchy.” Mix pieces and patterns for interest
  • Use cloth napkins to line baskets for serving
  • Invest in one or two quality items – like the Wilton Armetale platter
  • Use what you already have!  I had no idea my cute kitchen roosters were so perfect for Fall decor.

Just a few weeks ago, we had another Fall deck party.  This time, Sherilyn was out of town at a yoga retreat.  And guess what?!?  I’m a big girl!  I did it myself!  Since last fall, I’ve purchased a few “must-have” items so that I wouldn’t have to borrow Sherilyn’s every time we had a party! I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Use what you have! Fresh mums and basil from the garden.
Instead of napkins, I purchased 1/2 a yard fabric from Hobby Lobby. Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!
Do you see a theme here? More mums, mason jar candle holder, and the cute little rooster makes a repeat appearance.
Use what you have! Pumpkin from the garden, drip candles added to empty wine bottle from the LAST party!
Oh, and this guy. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be at EVERY party. I just love him.